Featuring Craig Wood, chef and co-owner of The Wee Restaurant, North Queensferry and The Wee Restaurant, Edinburgh. Obviously the restaurants are closed just now, but there is a fantastic takeaway and delivery service available from North Queensferry. See below for details.

How long have you been a chef?

32 years. I started part time at Sealscraig, South Queensferry when I was 15. Proper good old fashioned pub grub, made on the premises.

Why did you become a chef?

My mum wasn’t that great in the kitchen. She jokes I took up cooking for survival. From that first job I realised I loved the kitchen environment and the discipline of it.

Favourite ingredient

Scottish asparagus. We get it from Glamis. Such a short season, but one we really look forward to. That and Scottish beef. We have a brilliant supplier, Hendersons of Glenrothes. I could buy cheaper elsewhere but I’ve never been tempted. We are regularly complimented on the quality of our steaks.

Favourite or signature dish

It would have to be my dish of Shetland mussels with bacon, parmesan, basil and pine nuts. I took it off the menu once. We nearly had a riot on our hands.

Favourite kitchen tool or equipment (apart from sharp knives)

My dog leg. (Editor’s note – no , I didn’t know what he meant either. Craig is referring to the Wusthof Cranked Turner, a posh fish slice which has no crank. See Nisbets website bit.ly/3b2ax6D.)

Food heroes

Marco Pierre White, one of the first rock n’ roll chefs, who made cooking sexy; Martin Wishart, with whom I’ve worked in a few places, an immensely talented man; the late Nick Ryan, of The Crinan Hotel, a real gentleman and mentor to me over the years.

Any food you can’t/won’t eat

Brussels sprouts. (Don’t tell my wife Vikki, as she loves them.) In France, I once ordered rognons de veau (veal kidneys) and discovered I didn’t like these either.

Comfort food/guilty secret

After a couple of glasses of wine late of an evening, I have been known to raid the cheese cupboard big style. I also have a bit of a sweet tooth, with a liking for midget gems.

Stupidest customer or kitchen experience

– Can I have the chicken liver parfait without the chicken liver?

–  Are you open for Sunday lunch?

     Yes.

–  What day is that?

Biog

Craig’s CV is like reading the Scottish edition of the Good Food Guide. He has worked for and with some of the best in the business, including Martin Wishart, Jean-Michel Gauffre, Airds Hotel, Port Appin, Hadrians, Edinburgh, The Crinan Hotel, Crinan, (first head chef job, age 23) and Restaurant Martin Wishart. He set up The Wee Restaurant in North Queensferry in 2006, and The Wee Restaurant, Edinburgh in 2016. In our interview he was too modest to mention that in 2015 he received the Scottish Chef of the Year award.

The Wee Restaurant, 17 Main Street, North Queensferry, KY11 1JG

01383 616263

The Wee Restaurant, 61 Frederick Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1LH

0131 225 7983

www.theweerestaurant.co.uk

For more details about the delivery service see

www.theweerestaurant.co.uk/wee-delivery

 

1 Comment

  1. Michael Greenlaw on 26th March 2020 at 12:44 am

    Thanks Tom, for this interesting interview with Craig.
    On your recommendation, I pointed some visitors to Edinburgh from County Cork in the direction of The Wee Restaurant in Frederick Street – and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

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